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Old 05-27-2014   #1
Carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 93
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 15
Smith River flows?

Anybody want to speculate on the Smith's flow in Montana over the next couple weeks?
I have a June 10th launch and was hoping for good fishing flows... Looks a bit high now, but wasn't sure if it was due to come down soon.
This will be my first time on the Smith and can't wait!

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Old 05-27-2014   #2
Sembob's Avatar
Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 484
Might go down due to irrigation. I have done it around then and earlier and it was already way down and fishing great. I know. This is a different year. But a lot of snow can melt in two weeks. Your lucky. It will be a good trip either way. Have fun.


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Old 05-28-2014   #3
Helena, Montana
Paddling Since: 2013
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 95
Good news, you probably won't have to drag your raft anywhere. Also the river should be fast, so you can get to the next camp and get margarhita hour early. I leave on the 16th, a week later can make a big difference. We went around the 15th last year and someone launching when we were finished would have probably had to drag a few places, the flow had dropped that much already. That said there is still a lot of snow in the mountains.
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Old 05-28-2014   #4
Meichorn's Avatar
salt lake city, Utah
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 19
I am on a group putting in next week, flows are def high, but may come down a little this week according to some local knowledge up there..Fishing will be tricky for us, may not be as so for you. When flows start to come down it is a good time to be out, fish will be going crazy. So you may hit it right. enjoy, will be great either way!
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Old 05-28-2014   #5
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Belgrade, Montana
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 1,659
So I just looked at the graph for the last 45 days and the snotel sites and it's a bit difficult to tell where were at... Usually there are two crests, one involving low-mid elevation snow and the second and largest involving high elevation snow. about 2/3 of the snotel sites in the basin have no snow but a few have a lot: 15-20" of SWE left, that tells me that some, if not most of the high elevation snow is still up there. Overall the basin is about 130% of average currently.

The Smith is a difficult river to predict, a couple of cool days will equate to a drop, a big thunderstorm and it can peak but with that said the graph indicates that the river has crested, even while it's unseasonably hot and other rivers somewhat near are climbing past flood stage. That to me is good news, but now we need to see if this is the first or second crest... There was a small crest of around 900 cfs in early May. My guess is that was just the low elevation snow, this crest is mid and we are still yet to see the bigger crest, but only time will tell. It's definitely been a strange year.

The best news is its forecast to stay hot this week and then remain above average. That will help pump out water prior to your trips but plan on it being high and fishing being a secondary pursuit. It still fishes when it's dirty so don't despair, unless it's chocolate and pushing tree's down river you should be able to catch a few fish...
Yesterday's gone on down the river and you can't get it back. - Agustus McCrae
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Old 05-28-2014   #6
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 5
Originally Posted by elkhaven View Post
. My guess is that was just the low elevation snow, this crest is mid and we are still yet to see the bigger crest, ...
this is my bet...water could be high JUne 10...
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Old 05-28-2014   #7
Carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 93
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 15
Thanks all.
This is a multi-purpose trip with families. I'd love to get a bunch of fishing in, but I'm just going to be as happy with a beautiful float and chilled beers!
Hopefully the river gods smile on us a bit! This will be my kids' first big fly fishing adventure if all goes well.
Thanks again for all the info.
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Old 05-29-2014   #8
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Lewistown, middle of MT
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 222
Just got off the Smith on Monday and it was running around a grand and muddy. Great salmon fly hatch, but we caught only two fish the whole trip. It will probably clear some by the 10th, but depends on the weather. We had great Smith weather for May/June warm during the day, but thunder showers in the afternoon. It still beats a day at work even if you can't catch fish.....
If you lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known. Winnie the Pooh
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Old 05-29-2014   #9
Seattle, Washington
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 29
Our group just got off. Was running 1900cfs and the color of peanut butter. Fishing was slow but we caught a few nice browns. Was in the mid 70s and sprinkled one evening.
My guess is you will hit it perfectly! Have fun!

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Old 06-09-2014   #10
Rainy Northwest, Washington
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 459
Low water cutoff

Anyone know what the recommended law water cutoff is? It's dropping fast, and we have a July 3 launch.

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